In 2008, former Secretary of State Colin Powell bucked the Republican Party and endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama in his campaign for president against Arizona Sen. John McCain. He described Obama then in very glowing terms – “a transformational figure” and “a generation coming.”
Over two years later, Powell still has a favorable view of Obama, but he isn’t as flattering as he was in 2008. “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley on her Sunday CNN program asked Powell if he still held Obama in high regard.
“Yes, I think he’s got a way to go,” Powell said. “I mean, he hasn’t achieved all of his purposes, but he’s stabilized the economy. The economy is now starting to rebound, more slowly than we would like to see, but it is rebounding. Whether you approve of health care or not, he took on that issue which I think is a major challenge for the American people. What do we do about 40 million Americans who have no health insurance? And so I hope we can fix whatever may be at fault in the bill that was passed, but we need some kind of health reform, and I think he took that on.”
Crowley asked if the perception of the country abroad has changed under Obama. Powell said it had, but the “transformational” part hasn’t completely remade the image of the United States because he’s not “Superman.”
“Well, I think it is better. I think the favorability rating of the United States and the administration has gone up. But, you know, we didn’t elect Superman, we elected a human being, Barack Obama, who came in with an idea, with energy, and I think with a youthful – a more youthful approach to things,” he said. “And I think that has been proven useful as we see more countries helping us out in places like Afghanistan, where we see people who want to work with us on climate change and other issues, where we see the invigoration of the G20 as a new economic forum in which to do things. So I think, yes, there have been improvements, but at the same time we could not expect everything to improve for the better all at once just because a new personality came on the scene. Every nation in the world ultimately reflects, in its policies its national needs and its own political situation and doesn’t just reflect who the American president is.”
Watch the entire interview on CNN.com here.